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The BMA Council has decided to take industrial action for the first time in nearly 40 years over changes to the pension scheme.

Council members made the decision to take industrial action over pension changes rather than strike action this morning after the results of the ballot published today revealed 78% of GPs backed industrial action on a turn-out of 53%.

The first day of action is due to take place on Thursday, 21 June and will see doctors providing all urgent and emergency care, but postponing non-urgent cases. The BMA said this would mean that doctors will still be at their usual workplaces.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the ballot results show how GPs are about the pension changes and explained that on the day of the planned industrial action GPs will still see patients.

He said: 'GPs will be seeing anyone who is ill or believe themselves to be ill. They will probably not be doing any routine paperwork or anything that can wait until another day.

'It will be a different level of workload on the day. If lots of people turn up it will be a busy day. If they don't then it won't be a busy day.

'GPs have shown by their turnout and their vote how angry they are about this.'

Chairman of Council at the BMA, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said: ‘We are taking this step very reluctantly, and would far prefer to negotiate for a fairer solution. But this clear mandate for action – on a very high turnout –  reflects just how let down doctors feel by the government’s unwillingness to find a fairer approach to the latest pension changes and its refusal to acknowledge the major reforms of 2008 that made the NHS scheme sustainable in the long term.

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